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noneconomic damages

report using data from a private actuarial firm and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found that malpractice costs (excluding “defensive medicine”) account for less than 2 percent of health care spending.[51] A 2006 PriceWaterhouseCoopers report for America’s Health Insurance Plans (a health-insurer trade association) used the 2 percent figure and an extrapolation from the Kessler and McClellan report to estimate that the combined cost of insurance and defensive medicine accounts for 10 percent of total health care costs in the U.S.[52]

In 2009, the CBO “concluded that implementing a package of five malpractice reforms would reduce national health spending by about 0.5 percent.”[53][54]

A study by Michelle M. Mello and others published in the journal Health Affairs in 2010 estimated that the total annual cost of the medical liability system, including “defensive medicine,” was about 2.4 percent of total U.S. health care spending.[53] The authors noted that “this is less than some imaginative estimates put forward in the health reform debate, and it represents a small fraction of total health care spending,” although it was not “trivial” in absolute terms.[53]

A study by RAND Corp. researchers published in October 2014 in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that laws restricting medical-malpractice suits do not reduce the amount of “defensive medicine” or reduce health-care costs. The researchers, led by Daniel A. Waxman, examined 3.8 million Medicare patient records from hospital emergency departments from 1997 to 2011, comparing care in three states that enacted strict malpractice reform laws about a decade earlier (GeorgiaTexas and South Carolina) to care in neighboring states that did not enact such laws